Beyond Shadowing

Beiersdorf Live Story Peer Petersen and Ali Fazeli
Peer Petersen (l.) and Ali Fazeli (r.)

His goal was to think outside the box and to learn from his colleagues: 29-year-old Global CSR Manager Peer Petersen underwent a so-called “shadowing” and exchanged his global corporate perspective for a local brands perspective. For Ali Fazeli, who took him on in the Marketing team for NIVEA Skin & Bath Care as a shadowing candidate, this pilot project was just as much a new and exciting challenge as it was for Peer…

Peer: “Shadowing is about a temporary deployment in a different team. Here you literally become your colleague’s shadow to gain insight into his or her work. But from the beginning Ali and I have stretched this concept beyond shadowing because I didn’t want to just look someone over the shoulder – I wanted to actively bring in my skills and work somewhat independently so that my host Ali and his team also benefit from this experience.”

Ali: “When we met Peer he came in with a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity. I had the feeling that he didn’t just want to tag along, but really have an effect here. It was quickly clear to me that with his experience with CSR projects for NIVEA Sun and Creme he can also manage current CSR projects in the team making him a valuable contributor.”

Peer: “The impetus came a few months ago: In CSR I work very closely with local marketing colleagues every day. We identify suitable NGOs for our global CSR initiative ‘NIVEA cares for family’, develop marketing campaigns together and build partnerships like for example the one between Hansaplast and the Red Cross. In this respect, Marketing is a key stakeholder of my work. This made me curious. Through shadowing I wanted to receive insights into Marketing’s daily business – beyond my own interface. What do their priorities and challenges look like? And what new ideas can be integrated into our work in CSR?“

Beiersdorf Live Story Peer Petersen and Ali Fazeli
Both benefitted from the shadowing experience

Ali: “I am happy that we were able to give Peer those insight – in return we profited from his CSR expertise in our current projects! I think that shadowing is a great opportunity to become more familiar with other functions and interfaces – and finally that it can also have long-term effects on your own career.”

Peer: “At first shadowing was just an idea and not a finished concept. The goals, the format and the length had to be defined and the host and I had to coordinate intensively everything in advance of course to ensure that it runs smoothly within daily business. I am very thankful for the support I got for this. So, in August I finally became a ‘guest’ in the Skin & Bath Care team of NIVEA Germany for four weeks and was immersed here in the daily business of Marketing. I accompanied colleagues to meetings, learned about their processes and peppered the team with questions. In return I was able to contribute especially in the NIVEA categories Creme and Sun as well as NIVEA umbrella brand topics which I already knew from my work in CSR.“

Ali: “My experience was thoroughly positive. Peer integrated into the team immediately and quickly took on responsibility in his projects. At the end of his shadowing we had really specific results in his projects with which we were able to continue working.”  

Peer: “The time at NIVEA Germany was great! I was very well received and felt integrated into the team right away. I got exciting insights into the planning of product launches and re-launches incl. media planning and the sales & operational planning process. With all the specific challenges and learnings it was a very valuable addition to my own skill set and daily CSR business.”

For all those interested in shadowing…

Peer: “Shadowing is a great opportunity to get to know another area in the company. I wouldn’t, however, go into an area that you have no touch points in, i.e., that from the perspective of the guest is completely foreign. I found it helpful for example, that I already was familiar with some categories and colleagues from my current job. That way you already have a foot in the door, get a lot more out of it and can also concretely supported the team. During the deployment the best tip is to ask as many questions as possible to understand the new processes and the specific perspectives of all those involved.”